Tango as play in the . . .

Field of the Fertile Void

I must acknowledge my friend, Howard Teich, a tango dancer and a therapist, for bringing that lovely mouth-filling phrase, fertile void, to my attention. [Watch for his upcoming book, Solar Light, Lunar Light]. In quantum physics, the fertile void, as I understand it, is the the tendency of all matter and energy to fill the vacuum (which nature abhors) creatively. Particles (protons, electrons,, quarks, bosons, etc) play, or hang loose before they moves in their “probable” direction or position. The Law of Uncertainty states that we can never know with complete accuracy the exact position and momentum of a particle. Albert Einstein had a hard time accepting this and debated Uncertainty for most of his life. His famous quote, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe,” came from his unwillingness to fully embrace this natural law.

But the tango gods do  play dice and thanks be to them.

It is precisely because of the “uncertainty” principle that Argentine tango is at once so delightfully edifying and so challenging. We call this uncertainty by its dance name, “improvisation.”

The challenges of learning tango are matched only by the challenges of teaching it, of passing on to others what we all can only learn through the experience of doing it over and over.

So be patient with yourselves and with your teachers. We all have a unique and different way of approaching the passing on of the tango torch. And, invariably we contradict not only each other, but ourselves, too.

When you are just learning tango and on your way to finding that field of the fertile void* it is necessary to think, to be in your head at first. It is normal and not be criticized, only recognized.

* How will know when I’m in the field of the fertile void?

You will know without my having to tell you. But here are some indicators: Time as dictated by clocks is suspended. That which has always been—deep, real time (infinity)—is at play. Your sense of power and energy is limitless. Your not needing to know what comes next is fully trusted.  Trust in your body is boundless. Contrary to much-sought “out-of-the-body” experiences, at play in the field of the fertile void is so fully in the body as is your sense of omnipotence and connection to all the cosmos and everyone in it.